Divya Manian: Designing in the browser

While we’re talking about talks about design, here’s a recent one by Adobe’s Divya Manian from Web Directions Code in Melbourne.

The talk’s called ‘Designing in the browser’ and while Divya delivers it well (except, speakers please remember to take your conference badge off when you go on stage) and she hits all the points you’d expect to hear, what struck me was how little of the talk was actually about the ‘designing’ from the title.

Take a look at the list of resources and what you’ll find are developer tools that I’ll bet you would leave most designers scratching their heads.

Now I fully understand that the lines between designing and developing are being redrawn. I know I also said in my talk at An Event Apart in Austin:

Design doesn’t work when it’s separate from development.

But for me, Divya (and others) gets something fundamentally wrong when talking about this subject. We would never expect a developer to learn bezier curves in Illustrator in order to work with a designer. On the flip side, the notion that designers should learn Docpad or Jekyll demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of how designing and developing involve different experiences, knowledge and skills.

This is something that toolmakers like Adobe need to consider when making new tools, and a subject I think I’m going to write a lot about another day.


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